Birding with Belize Audubon Society
Join one of four great birding adventures!
Central American Waterbird Census
The International Waterbird Census (IWC) has run since 1967 and today covers over 25,000 sites in more than 100 countries. In each country, national coordinators work with a network of professional and amateur birders to provide water bird counts to the IWC. There are four (4) separate regional schemes of the IWC that represent the major flyways of the world namely Africa-Eurasia; Africa-Pacific; Neotropics and Caribbean. A national assessment of waterbirds for Belize was completed in 2006 by Miller and Miller which covered Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary and was submitted to BirdLife International.
Subsequent to that, the annual counts and reports on waterbirds in Belize have been dormant. However, observations for waterbirds seen in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary was submitted to BirdLife in 2012 and since then, staff at Belize Audubon Society has received training in conducting the census following the methodology of Censo Neotropical de Aves Acuáticas (Neotropical Census of Aquatic Birds). Belize Audubon Society currently participates in the Central American Waterbird Census (CAWC) spearheaded by BirdLife International; the most recent report on waterbirds in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary was submitted in 2014.
Great Backyard Bird Count
“The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish) on one or more days of the event and report their sightings online at www.birdcount.org . Anyone can take part in this count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can now participate from anywhere in the world! The Belize Audubon Society’s staff and members participates in this annual activity. The date is usually set in February of each year around the weekend of President’s Day in the United States. Those interested in participating in the GBBC can find more information by visiting here.
Urban Bird Watching
The Urban Bird watch is an outdoor birding activity that was started by the Belize Audubon Society in 2009. The count takes place in October of each year and was designed to softly introduce bird conservation and the importance of wintering grounds. The data collection effort is based on citizen science whereby novice birders team up with expert birders each year and bird the major urban areas of Belize. It’s a great opportunity to see urban centers from a new perspective and is ideal for those novice birders who have no intention of trekking through the forest to understand the unique relationship between birds and their habitat. The data collected is uploaded on eBird for the general public to view. The Urban Areas in Belize where volunteer groups gather each year in October include:
- Orange Walk Town
- Belize City
- Dangriga Town
- Punta Gorda Town
- San Pedro Town
- Corozal Town
Visit www.birds.audubon.org for more information.
Christmas Bird Count
The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was orchestrated on Christmas Day, 1900 by ornithologist Frank Chapman. Since then, it has been the longest running citizen science survey in the world and the data collected provides critical information on population trends of birds. The idea was proposed as a new holiday tradition-a “Christmas Bird Census” that would count birds in the holidays rather than hunt them. There are defined “count circles” established across the world in which different teams of bird watchers set out to record the early winter birds. The count runs each year from December 14th to January 5th of the following year.
The Belize Audubon Society first participated in the CBC in 1972 with input from volunteers who were avid bird watchers. Presently, the Society coordinates the annual birding activity for Belize. There are currently five (5) circles in Belize, each with a 15 mile diameter and Belize Audubon leads three (3). The leader of each birding circle is responsible to collect the bird data and submit to Belize Audubon Society for compilation. Thereafter, the total number of individuals of each species recorded in each circle is submitted to the National Audubon Society for inclusion into the Christmas Bird Count issue of the journal American Birds.
Count Circles in Belize:
- Belize Rural (est. 1972)
- Belmopan City (est. 1975)
- Gallon Jug (est. 1991)
- Punta Gorda (est. 2000)
- Cockscomb Basin (est. 2011)
Contact us to find out how you can participate and improve your bird watching skills!